Breastfeeding Feed

Let's add solids to the routine, shall we?

We are full force into baby food in our house. It took a little while for Max to get used to the textures but now he's excited to try new things. Like a baby bird with his mouth open, he sits and waits until I spoon in the next bite. Since we've started solids as a dinner time thing, the evening extra bottle of breast milk has gone away.  Our new evening ritual is to strip down to his diaper for dinner, he gets one veggie and half a fruit helping. I let him explore feeding himself. More times the food ends up in his hair or on me but he is learning and getting better at putting the spoon in his mouth. Then it is bath time, a book and finally he nurses before bed. Before we started solids it was pretty much the same routine except he'd nurse before bath and then get a bottle before bed. Usually after he'd finish off his bottle, he'd cry out for more.  I'd let him top himself off on the breast and then he'd be ready for bed.  Now he seems much more satisfied and zen before bed. I like that. :)

This week we started gouter. Or as the French call afternoon snack time. Traditionally this around 4-5pm, kids will have an after school snack of tartines of nutella, a fruit and a bowl of milk or juice.  Of course, we'd like to stick to the tradition of nutella and baguette that my husband grew up with. But it's a little too early for Max to try nutella. Though Max is all about the baguette! So  for now we are going to stick with fruit purée.  This week we had banana and prunes. Also, gouter is my way of transitioning through the late afternoon nap (or nap #3) for Max.  I can see that it is starting to phase out already!  Soon, I'd like to have gouter while we are on our afternoon walks.  Maybe I'll start a gouter group where we can meet up with other kids and have gouter in a park in Paris.      

This weekend I am visiting a friend and am hoping to get inspired on new "dishes" I can make for Max.  I've had a few hits but mostly misses making my own food for Max. But I'm inexperienced and am still learning.  For now, Max has been eating organic baby food I found at my local bio marché.  I've also started getting an organic basket of fruits and vegetables from Le Campanier every week in an effort for Julien and I to eat better. I know I that will give me ideas for new purées to try out on Max.

Mama's milk is still his main source of nutrition. And I can tell he prefers that over everything else. I don't blame him! :)

Veggies Max loves:

Pumpkin (Potiron)



On our to try list:

Tofu (in cubes)
Zucchini (again)
Sweet potatoes

What foods have you been feeing your babies or fed your babies in the past? When did you start giving them actual bits to try to eat? I ask this because I can tell that Max is more interested in feeding himself then being fed by Mama.

Discussion Links

I thought it would be easier to post all the great links that have been posted through out our little series of discussions on breastfeeding. There's been a lot of great advice and experiences shared. I really appreciate that you took the time to share with me and everyone else who read my blog. I think it's become a great wealth of information.  And it's really helped me through a stressful weekend. 

So here's what's been posted up to date and a few more links from me:

- US breastfeeding laws for each of the 50 states.
- How long should one breastfeed for?  (La Leche League)
- Extended Breastfeeding. (LLL)
- Let down, BF terminology for Milk Ejection Reflex (Wikipedia rocks!)
- Kelly Mom, great BF and parenting website.
- How does milk production work?
- Your period could cause low milk production.(Not true for all women but for me, yes!)
- Rice milk and soy milk for infants and toddlers.
- Mother's Milk Tea to increase milk production.
- Fenugreek to increase milk production. (after taste is kind of like maple syrup)
- Oatmeal to increase milk production. (very good with peaches and cream)
- Dark beer to increase milk production. (My choice is Guinness, a glass in the evening is lovely)
- Hands -free pumping bra.
- Caroline suggested making a hands-free pumping bra myself . (It works!)

I wish I could figure out how to blog and pump at the same time.

Yeah, lots of breast talk going on right now on my blog. Well, that pretty much is my main thought after Maximilien and my husband.  And this is my blog, so I can talk about whatever I want. :) It is so cool that so many of you are so willing to discuss. So here's a little ditty I've been dealing over the last week...

I've noticed  sudden change in my son's behavior before bed. Meaning that he cries hysterically and tries to eat his hands incessantly.  You guessed it, he's hungry.  I've been suspecting something going on with my breasts since we got back from the US early June.  My milk supply wasn't as abundant as it had been since Max's birth but I chalked that up to my body regulating itself and making the amount of milk that Max needed. But then something strange started happening, my left breast wasn't producing as much milk as my right. It became so obvious that my right breast was bigger than my left. Talk about weird when I'd look at myself in the mirror. I completely stopped having a let down on my left side. It's like my left breast went back to being itself like it was before I became pregnant.

So essentially since  July, Max has been living off one boob. :)

Weight issues came up at his three month check up. He gained nearly half of what he gained the month before. It was even less the next month and that was when we started having the poop issues. And this last month he only gained 380g when on average he should be gaining 500g a month, according to Max's pediatrician and what I read on Kelly Mom (great website, btw).  But he kept shooting up in height and that reassured me and the doctor that all was well. Max was happy and sleeping well up until about three days ago.

I've noticed when he nurses he pulls off almost every time and cries from frustration. I have to keep nudging him to take the breast again. Hoping that I'd have a let down to satisfy him. After two days of this I sent Julien out for formula last night because I wasn't going to have a starving baby and he needed sleep.

For the last two days I've breast fed him and given him 80cl of formula and it seems to be enough for him. He pulls off from the bottle happy and ready to go to bed.

But this worries me about my milk supply.  I've read the La Leche League website about low milk supply and it seems like they don't like to say that a mother has low milk supply unless it's the final straw. They talk about doing breast compressions (tried it), working on latch (done that), nursing more which is hard because when nothing comes out Max doesn't want to nurse so that doesn't work and pumping more.  So with the latter, I called my doctor and got a prescription for a hospital grade electric pump and it was delivered to my apartment today.  I'm going to go pump before bed tonight and then set my alarm and pump again in the middle of the night to see what I can get. 

I may sound a little desperate because I do feel a little bit desperate. And disappointed.  I don't understand what is happening to my body but I sense something has changed recently.  I know it's okay to let Max have formula but it goes against my plan to breast feed him because for me I feel like that is what is best for my baby. 

Even Max knows the difference. He sort of rejects the bottle of formula the first few times we try to give it to him but then he gives in.  Maybe it's my imagination but I believe he knows the difference. But it satisfies him enough at night for him to go to sleep and that's what is important right now.

So my play list of songs tonight include some Beatles, Frou Frou and a the woosh woosh from the breast pump. I'm off to make this work...

Tire Lait Kitetmatic

Any advice or experience with this that you'd like to share, I'd love to hear it. I'm still waiting for someone from the LLL to write me back. Kinda bummed that no one's written me back yet.

Also, has anyone given their 5 month old baby soy milk? Just curious...

For how long?

I am really enjoying the free flowing discussion we are having here about breast feeding, formula feeding, breast or bottle in public, etc... The vibe is so positive and groovy. Thanks. :)

Another non mama and mama brought up another question out of curiosity about the benefits of breast feeding beyond one year.  How long should one breastfeed?  While I haven't really given too much thought about extended breast feeding  at the moment because Max is only 5 months old. There is one thing I know I'll probably practice is child led weaning of the breast.  I would like my child to let me know when he's ready to move on. I feel like that would be such an awesome way to empower my child starting at a young age.  That being said, I know that when we will have our second child I would not like to be breastfeeding two children at once.  We'll probably try for the second one when Max is around 15 months old. So, if he's not ready to wean by 15 months, my theory of empowering my child to chose to wean will be thrown out the window. But we'll see....

What are you thoughts and experiences?  And please check out the comments/question (linked above).

Where is it appropriate to feed your baby?

I'd like to start of by saying that I am thrilled that we had such an open (non-aggressive) conversation about breast feeding and formula feeding. Perhaps those aggressive types are not reading my blog but I feel like we've opened a very nice dialog here and I wanted to thank you all for sharing your thoughts.  We need to hear more real stories like this to show that there are choices to be made and no one should be passing judgment. Who are we to judge one another? We should be supporting one another!

A non mama posted a very good question in my comments in my last entry that I wanted to open up for discussion.  She asked, "Where is it appropriate to feed?". I am making the supposition that she means to breast feed?  I personally believe that anywhere you can bottle feed your baby you should be able to breast feed your baby.  Unfortunately, society has other ideas. Again, why?

Back in June I has some slight fears about breast feeding in public. I was traveling back to the US to introduce Maximilien to my family. And I was a little afraid to breast feed in public due to some (horror) stories I had heard in the news. Stories of women being kicked out of restaurants and places like Target and Victoria's Secret for breast feeding their child.  The Victoria's Secret really stood out, hello there are boobs all over that place. I digress... anyway, my friend suggested that I educate myself on the laws of the states I was going to be visiting about breast feeding in public. Some states actually ban it in public places. Some states don't have any laws at all concerning breast feeding  Here's the list of states that allow and the specific language for each of their state laws. I was going to Virgina and their state law says that a women is free to breast feed on any state own property.

There was only one time I needed to breast feed Max in public and that was in Target while my aunt and I had sat down to have a cool drink. I came prepared with my Maya wrap and I used to shield any part of my body that might offend. I refuse to cover my baby up while he is feeding. He nursed for thirty minutes while I enjoyed my drink and conversation with my aunt and nothing happened.

What has been your experience breast feeding in public? And what are your thoughts on this matter?

"Breast is Best" is not a good enough argument.

I was reading over at Strollerderby about their heated discussion about breast vs. bottle and the seeming lack of support that women get in the US after having a baby. It got me thinking about those first few days after Maximilien was born and wondering how different things would have been for me if I had given birth to him in the US.   

I remember about the 4th night at around 4am I had been up with Max trying to feed him and calm him down and utterly failing at both.  It seemed like he had been crying for hours.  My milk had not come in and I was sore, sleep deprived and emotional.  The night baby nurse came to check on us and found me slumped over crying and holding Max against my broken body.  I had no idea what to do.  And all she did was sit with me while I cried and put her hand on my back and said nothing. We sat like that for at least 15 minutes until I finally was able to say something.   I expressed my frustration that I was unable to nurse Max and satisfy him and that I felt like a failure.  She pulled a bottle of formula out of her pocket and said to me simply, "you will not be a bad mother if you feed your baby formula."  I fed Max 20cl of formula. And he went right to sleep.  She put him in his bassinet and offered to take him to the nursery so I could sleep.  I told her I would sleep better if he was with me. She said then in that case that she'd be back in an hour to check on us.  I was fast asleep and never heard her come in to check on us but when I awoke that morning because my milk had come in there was a little noted that said "Courage" on it and a little bottle of forumla right next to it.   I got up to take a hot shower to relieve some of the pressure from engorgement and when I came out of the shower  the night baby nurse was there. She had gotten off her shift and on her way home stopped in to see if we were doing alright.  I told her that my milk had come in and I felt better after getting a few hours of sleep. We sat on the bed and she watched as Max latched on. She showed me a few tricks to try to get him to open his mouth and we sat there while Max nursed his little heart out. Before she left she told me I must always follow my instincts.

I don't know if things would have been different if I had to of gone through that scary night alone.   I feel lucky that she was there because I honestly think I may have given up.  What she said stuck with me because less than three weeks later I had mastitis and  fell terribly sick.  My right breast was engorged and I had to take antibiotics to rid my body of the infection. Max hadn't had a good feeding in two days and he was crying  non-stop. I remember sending Julien out to the store to get formula and you know what? I felt fine about it. I supplemented Max with formula while I was taking my antibiotics and then switch back to the breast exclusively. And all was well again.

Getting back to the Strollerderby debate on breastfeeding, I feel like there are too many people try to enforce the benefits of breast feeding by simply saying "Breast is best!" and stopping there.  I believe that the stigma that breast feeding has could be avoided if women were educated on the choices they could make and if they got the proper support that they need. 

About a month ago I started to doubt my milk production because Max hadn't gained enough weight and his doctor asked me if I was making enough milk. In the moment it freaked me out. After getting home and thinking about it, I felt like it was unfair for the doctor to ask me a question like that. I emailed my local La Leche League office and asked my questions about the possibility of milk  production dropping off.   The response I got was a little bossy so to speak. I had written that we had given Max the bottle a few times (with breast milk) and the person wrote back saying that I should avoid all together the bottle because that could sabotage my milk production and that "Breast was best!". That was all the argument she gave me.  I felt disappointed  because she could have been more diplomatic in her response.  She never talked to me once about doing supplemental pumping to increase my milk supply.  I tried for a few days to follow her advice and not give the bottle but it didn't work. Instead I followed my own instincts and found my own system to feed Max with a bottle of breast milk at night and I pump after he goes to bed and try to pump once more during the day during one of his nap times. 

I speak only from my own point of view and I honestly believed the first few days of Max's life  I was going to fail as a mother because I wasn't going to be able to breast feed.  Sure, there were external factors playing into things like I just had major surgery, I was suffering from post partum depression and the anxiety of becoming a mother.  Breast feeding did not come easily to me. I had cracked nipples that bled, blisters and delayed milk production. All these things can play tricks on your mind but I had great support from the midwives, my doctor, my husband and friends.   And for me that made all the difference.

Boy, this turned out to be a long entry... Max is napping and I should be pumping. I better get to it. :)


Um, you've got a stain on your shirt there...

Perhaps you know what I'm talking about? They aren't really that noticeable but in the right light you can see them pretty well, I guess. Breast milk or spit up. Or both. I am sitting here typing this entry in my underwear and a maternity tank top.  All five of my outfits that I enjoy wearing right now are in the wash. Cotton. Stretch. Can be washed together. Nothing needs to be ironed. My mommy uniforms waiting to be barfed, drooled or leaked on.   So, if you see a stain on my shirt... just pretend it's not there. That's what I do most of the time.

Holy growth spurt, Batman!

I don't know if was the Mommy and Me yoga class I took Maximilien to or that yesterday was the longest day of the year but Max has been wanting to be on the boob almost every hour! I don't know if I can keep up. He even woke up early this morning to get topped off before snoozing again.  Where is all this good mama's milk going? And still no poops since Wednesday.  All I know is that sisters need to step up their game if they are going to keep up with Max.

I am an over efficient milk machine!

Thank you to everyone who extended their advice and support from the last post. Things have been progressively better. I've changed my diet a little and have been now eating lots of fish in the hopes to pump my body up with natural goodies instead of going the drug route. I've read some other blogs where other women really experienced deeper depression feelings and I have to say that I am not there. I just need sleep. Sleep is the key.  I feel like a new me when I can get my three hours when Max decides to sleep.

Well, I had intended to blog today about how this week was going. Up until a couple nights ago, it was going great. Maximilien and  I had found a nice little rhythm and I actually felt confident enough to try to take him out to go Rue Mouffetard to look for some shoes for myself. But two nights ago I felt hot. Flu like hot. It's warm in Paris. Spring is here but not hot enough where I am sweating all the time and uncomfortable and Julien and Max were just fine.  So, I took my temperature and it was 100.5. Uh oh.  I didn't know what to do about the breastfeeding if I were sick. I panicked for about three seconds and then jumped on the computer and Googled it. Oh, how I love thee Internet.  I visited three sites that said to keep breastfeeding and that it would be just fine for the baby. If anything it's a good thing to expose him a little to what I have so he can build up his immunity. I hadn't noticed but my breasts were engorged. I just thought that they were full and I needed to feed max. He had been sleeping for nearly 4 hours and when I go that long without feeding him they tend to get super full. I breastfed him and fell asleep to wake up with the most excruciating pain coming from my right breast. It was engorged but not like it normally would be after a few hours of sleep. A friend came over and brought me soup, I tried to eat as much as I could but feeling feverish, I had little appetite. She played with Max while I took a long shower and massaged my sore breast.  After she left, I took my temperature again and it was 102.2. Not good. I laid down and called S.O.S Medcin and they sent over a doctor right away.   She examined me and immediately said I had an infected breast that it probably was  Mastitis.  She prescribed me pain relief, antibiotics and a breast pump. Yep, in France you can get a prescription for a breast pump and they will even deliver it to your house. Before the doctor left, she sat with me to try to figure out how this happened. I told her that I had been breast feeding all the time so I was surprised that this happened. She asked if I had changed anything lately and I did, in the last two days I had introduced the pacifier to Max in the afternoons when he's awake and all he wants to do is suck. I needed the break and he was content on sucking on the tetine.  What happened was that my body didn't get the message and kept making more milk, normally I would have put Max on my breast to ease his sucking urge. And me being so tired, I didn't notice that my breast were so full.  The combination of me being so run down and the slight change in our breast feeding routine threw everything out of wack.  So, last night I spent the entire night shivering and sweating from the Mastitis induced fever and breast fed Max as much as I possibly could.  As painful as it was for the first few hours, we got through it and I noticed that my breast hurt a little less today.

Honestly, when I thought things couldn't get any harder they did and I'm getting through it.  For a few minutes there I was in tears, talking to Max asking why this was happening... he just looked back at me with his little blue eyes and smiled.  I know it's hard but it's worth it. I want to do it for him but more importantly I want to do it for me. I'm living the most amazing experience in my life right now. I don't want to waste it away with tears and worry.  Yes, Ahppa... I'm going to stop worrying so much and just go with the flow.  I still feel quite bad today, physically but mentally I feel almost the best I've felt in three weeks even though my right boob feels like it's leaking needles right now. 

Max just let the biggest fart ever. And he's all laying there in bed looking up like he didn't do anything.  He is definitely my son, I'd do the exact same thing. These times are the best times, just mommy and Max moments. Can't wait for more of them to come...